The 2023 NFL season has yet to begin but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least start looking ahead to the 2024 NFL draft. Each week we hope to bring you one game to focus on that has some interesting NFL draft prospects to watch for the Cleveland Browns.
Week 1 of the college football season (let's be honest, for many of us college football doesn’t start until The Ohio State Buckeyes take the field so Week 0 didn’t count), we are focusing on the Big 10 (are there 20 teams now?) matchup between The Ohio State Buckeyes and Indiana Hoosiers.
(Previous version of this story mistakenly had the Buckeyes playing Illinois, Week -1 for this author)
Fans are well aware of the Buckeyes talent level over the years. Many Browns fans have pounded the table for adding Ohio State players in the draft and got rewarded in 2023 with two draft selections (Dawand Jones and Luke Wypler) and two undrafted free agents (Ronnie Hickman and Tanner McCalister).
Jones, Wypler and Hickman made Cleveland’s initial 53-man roster while McCalister is on the team’s practice squad.
The 2024 NFL draft is the final year that the Browns do not have a first-round selection, completing the Deshaun Watson trade. Due to a variety of moves including trades involving Baker Mayfield, Deion Jones, Za’Darius Smith and Josh Dobbs, GM Andrew Berry will have the following selections to work with next year:
- 2nd Round
- 3rd Round
- 5th Round - 2 picks
- 6th Round - 2 picks
- 7th Round - 2 picks
Here are six NFL draft prospects in Buckeyes vs the Illini that might interest Cleveland next year:
The Ohio State Buckeyes
DT Michael Hall Jr.
There are two interior defenders that could interest the Browns but if Hall is available in the second round, the team should pounce. He would fit nicely with Dalvin Tomlinson and Siaki Ika as a quicker, more explosive 3-technique.
RB TreVeyon Henderson
With Nick Chubb going into the last year of his contract in 2024 (as currently written) and Jerome Ford the team’s backup but unproven, a running back could be a day-two selection for Cleveland. Even if Chubb is extended, the Browns may be on the lookout for their long-term top back. Henderson showed those abilities but wasn’t healthy last year. Given the devaluing of the position, he could be available in the second or third round depending on his 2023 performance.
DE Jack Sawyer
While there are much bigger names on the Ohio State roster (Marvin Harrison, J.T. Tuimolau, Emeka Egbuka) Cleveland will most likely not be in position to draft them. Sawyer could be a day-two selection if he continues to develop on a loaded defensive line. He hasn’t shown the pure bend required to be a high first-round pick but could be the long-term replacement for Smith, who is only signed for 2023.
OL Matthew Bedford
With Joel Bitonio getting up there in age and Wyatt Teller’s expensive contract and down 2022 season, finding a starting-level guard could be a high priority in the next few seasons. Bedford has the size and light feet to excel in multiple schemes at the next level. A tackle currently, Bedford might be a little light to continue to play outside at the next level.
DE Andre Carter
Not the Andre Carter II out of Army last year that some thought would be drafted on day two but went undrafted, this Carter transferred from Western Michigan this year. Last year, he had seven sacks and gets to prove himself against tougher competition in 2023. At 6’5” and over 270 pounds, Carter has the size to play at the NFL level but has to prove his athletic abilities and techniques are NFL-ready.
WR Dequece Carter
After adding size with WR Cedric Tillman last year, the Browns could be intrigued by adding a speedster in 2024 with this Carter. With Marquise Goodwin on a one-year contract, adding someone with a downfield ability to open up the offense could be helpful.
Are you also a college football fan? If so, when watching games do you think about how certain players might fit with the Browns? Share your thoughts on OSU vs Illinois in the comment section below as well as answer those questions: